We got hooked long before we were able to comprehend (or sit through) movies like those. Maybe we saw Charlie Chaplin's "The Kid"not necessarily when it came out in 1921, mind you, but soon after. Perhaps we were captivated by the first full-length animated film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," in 1937, or "The Red Balloon" when it first came to the U.S. in 1957, or "The Apple Dumpling Gang" movies in the 1970s.
It didn't take filmmakers especially those working under the Disney name long to realize that kids are good audiences. And since the little ones are usually accompanied by an adult who's also buying a ticket, well . . . that would be a positive thing for everyone, right? As long as the movie is good, anyway.
Donna Stinchcomb, curator of the Buell Children's Museum in Pueblo, doesn't need more than a split second to identify her favorite childhood film.
''Oh, 'Mary Poppins,' '' she said. "You've got that huge word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and dancing penguins . . . It's practically perfect in every way." The children's museum's current exhibit is "Seeing Stars Hollywood Make Believe." Kids and their grown-ups can draw, fly like Superman and dress up in costumes just like in the movies.
"It's one of those exhibits that lends itself to people playing together," said Stinchcomb.
Really, thank goodness for children. They're the reason we've been graced with some of the best movies in recent years, films that meet high standards in any category "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille," to name a couple. In fact, there's a mountain of decent-to-excellent kids' movies out there for viewing. For every "Home Alone 4" or "An Extremely Goofy Movie," there's a "Chicken Run" or "Enchanted." Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org) even has 71 "best" categories for children's movies, including best movie moms and dads, movie misfits, sports movies, election movies and smart movie girls.
That's a lot to keep a family busy. Look at it this way, though. It might help you sort out the true children's movie gems: those that can play in the family DVD player every day for a month without causing all the older members of the household to go insane.
As Timon and Pumbaa from "The Lion King" would say, hakuna matata! A new generation means an opportunity to pass on your childhood favorites to another audience. That's almost worth enduring your 38th viewing of "Over the Hedge."Fzzzzzzzz If you want to know what some of the best children's movies are, you've got to go to the experts: kids . . . and people formerly known as kids.
In other words, everyone.
Since the Buell Children's Museum is in the midst of hosting "Seeing Stars," a movie-themed exhibit, curator Donna Stinchcomb was kind enough to place our questionnaires at their front desk for a week so we could find out who likes what.
We asked visitors to write down their favorite kids' movie, their age and, if they chose, their first name. Here are some of the responses we received:
"Aladdin" Makayla, 15
"Alice in Wonderland" Connir, 15
"Alien vs. Predator" Josh, 9
"Alvin and the Chipmunks" Erin and McKenzie, both 10
"Cars" -- Karri, 25 "Chill Out Scooby-Doo!"Hunter, 3
"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"May, 8
"Clueless" Amy, 10
"Finding Nemo" Xavier, 4, and Dawn, "30 something"
"The Goonies" and "Harvey" Kimberlee, 28
"Kung Fu Panda" Sophia, 7
"Lady and the Tramp" John, 39
"The Little Princess" Lani, 7
"Nancy Drew" Danielle, 10
"Pokemon: The Movie" Ashton, 6
"Princess Mononoke" Ben, 10
"Ratatouille" Brandon, 10
"Scooby-Doo" John, 13
"Toy Story 2" Jacqueline, 24
- Amy Matthew
To see more of The Pueblo Chieftain, or to subscribe to the newspaper,
Copyright (c) 2008, The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.